This blog was written on 25 March 2020. At the time of writing, social distancing is mandatory in the UK in an effort to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). UK citizens have been asked to stay home where possible but one bike ride, run or walk is allowed, either solo or with somebody that you live with.
As the situation and guidelines may change on a daily basis, we strongly advise that you refer to the NHS guidance regularly, if you are in the UK, or check with the local government or health authorities wherever you are.
For many of us, outdoor cycling is a social activity as well as a way to get exercise. Group rides are a healthy way to catch up with friends and you can share the workload while keeping each other motivated.
Solo rides can also be rewarding but it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to be a little more self-sufficient. We’ve put together some of our top tips for staying safe when you’re riding alone.
Check your bike every time you ride
It’s more important than ever that you don’t risk a ride-ending mechanical issue and wind up stranded, particularly if bike-tinkering isn’t your strong suit.
Before every ride, make sure your bike is in good working condition. British Cycling recommends that you do a quick M-Check, working front to back in an ‘M’ shape.
If you’re not confident that your bike is in a road-worthy condition, it’s probably safer to either exercise at home or have a qualified mechanic check it out, if that’s an option for you.
Stick to a route you know and don’t go too far
Cycling is a great way to explore the roads and trails less travelled, but for now, it’s best to play it safe and stick to familiar routes. If you know all the twists, turns and descents, you’re less likely to be caught out and have an accident.
Bear in mind that those local train services you might normally rely on as a backup may not be running. Can somebody you live with collect you in the event of an incident, or can you stay close enough to home that you could walk home if necessary?
Make sure you know how to fix a puncture
Punctures always seem to happen at the least convenient time. Take more repair kit than you normally would, whether that’s two tubes instead of one or extra gas and plugs if you’re running tubeless and don’t forget your pump.
If you’re not confident with removing and replacing an inner-tube, practice a few ‘dry runs’ at home – the GCN video below will help.
Take it easy
This isn’t the time for KOM-chasing. This is a time to take it easy, get out of the house and maintain some base fitness. Don’t ride too hard and increase the risk of an accident.
You might even enjoy taking the pressure off and enjoying the scenery on your rides!
Take extra food and drink
Whilst you are probably not going to be out as long as you normally would be, it’s still important to make sure you stay hydrated and have enough food available. There’s nothing more disheartening than hitting the wall when you’ve run out of food and nowhere is open to top up!
Play it safe
If you’re feeling unwell, you should stay at home and refer to current NHS advice. Take this as an opportunity to rest.
If you’re not confident about riding alone or you’re not sure if your bike is road-worthy, it might be a good time to try an online workout. Wiggle will be sharing workout content on Facebook and YouTube in the coming weeks.
You might also want to use the time to get your bike in ship-shape so you’re ready for when things start to return to normal. This is the perfect time to explore our comprehensive guides and brush up on everything from maintaining your drivetrain to choosing the right cassette.
Check the current guidelines regularly
In this unprecedented pandemic situation, guidance can change on a daily basis. Make sure you check what the latest advice is for your country.